Design principle 1:

→ Cut learning material up into short drills

Cut your learning material up into small chunks. Microlearning is effective and motivates learners. Check below to find out how it’s done!

What?

It is important that you cut the learning material up into short drills. Short learning moments make it easier to learn at regular intervals, which is called microlearning. This approach is what makes Drillster so effective because having more ‘quick’ learning moments is better than having long learning cycles every so often. Besides, people quickly get demotivated when they are served up lengthy drills. Microlearning is more effective and will keep students or employees committed and motivated. Try to design drills in a way that allows people to quickly squeeze them in between other activities in their schedule. Drillster can be used on a smartphone, laptop or tablet. Easy!

Cutting learning material up will also force you to limit the material to only crucial need-to-know information (see design principle 2). So, keep your drills short and stick to one subject area. The ideal length is between 8 and 10 learning elements with a total of between 24 and 40 question variants (see design principle 8). Do you still have too much learning material? Spread it out over multiple drills and possibly combine these drills with stories into a course (see design principle 3). Needless to say, you can also make multiple courses on different subjects. That’s how you keep learning manageable!

Why?

Forgetting curve
Short drills are not only more convenient for students to do than lengthy learning modules, there is also a functional idea behind them. You will probably have heard of ‘the power of repetition’. This is a concept that certainly applies to learning. By repeating small quantities of information at regular intervals, the ‘forgetting curve’ gets a chance to set in. The forgetting curve is the phenomenon that people quickly forget nearly 80% of freshly learned knowledge! It is key that students are given the time to forget new information. It may sound contradictory, but forgetting actually serves a purpose…

Knowing and forgetting
When you ask someone to reproduce information that they have already (partially) forgotten, you are forcing them to actively dig into their brain to retrieve that information. This person will have to put in some effort to find the material in his or her memory, which will produce a stronger and longer-lasting learning effect. The longer information is left unused and has partly been forgotten, the more effort someone has to put in to reproduce it, which boosts the learning effect.

The forgetting curve gradually becomes longer. And so will the intervals between drills. This is how the learning material is anchored in the brain for the long term. How much time is there between drills? Drillster will calculate it for you! To take maximum advantage of the forgetting curve, Drillster not only uses spaced learning (microlearning), but also spaced repetition. Allow us to explain:

  • Spaced learning is learning at short regular intervals. Drillster will send you notifications to prompt you to have short learning sessions more often. This way, people will ultimately take in all the information from a drill little by little.
  • Spaced repetition is used when someone has completed a drill in full. The intervals between brush-up sessions are gradually made longer. The algorithm determines when it is time to call knowledge to mind. This ensures that more and more information is moved from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, which means that knowledge is anchored. Useful, right?

So, again: keep your drills short and manageable, so that the algorithm can do its thing!

How?

On the right, you see a course that consists of a story and short drills.

This table shows how people learn in short intervals, forget the information and come back again to brush up on their knowledge.

10 drill design principles

With the 10 drill design principles, we help you on your way to designing the perfect drills. These tips will help you create the best questions based on educational design principles and ensure an effective learning process and well-anchored knowledge. Click on one of the other 9 design principles for more information and clear examples per design principle.

Workshop drill design

Rather have a personal explanation of how to make the perfect drill? We provide drill design workshops and refresher courses for (future) instructional drill designers. Fill in this form and we will contact you.

Need support?

Don’t have the time or resources to make good drills yourself? Find out how we can help!

  • Training: training your employees to become Certified Instructional Drill Designers.
  • Drill design: you can also opt to outsource parts of the drill design process to us.
  • Drill review: one of our educational specialists will help you by reviewing your drill content.
  • Bulk input: entering large volumes of content.
  • Communications: we would be happy to help you with internal communications on implementing the Drillster method.
  • Customization: integration into an LMS or learning portal: “Drillster inside” your trusted environment.